Normal People – a review

Normal People – a review

Author – Sally Rooney

Genre – Literary fiction

Rating – 9/10

This is an outstanding novel that explores the redemptive power of human love.

Marianne and Connell live in a provincial town in Ireland, and have known each other since childhood. Connell is popular; captain of the school football team, and with good social skills. Marianne is unpopular, derided for her looks, her dress sense and her refusal to conform to the social norms of her peers. Connell is poor; Marianne is well off. Both are extremely intelligent.

In their last year at school, they feel a powerful sexual attraction to each other, and make love. The experience reaches a level of intimacy that startles them both – but they conceal this. As far as the world knows they are casual friends.

Although by the time they go to university they have ‘split up’, the attraction is as strong as it ever was. They struggle against it, forming sexual relationships with other partners, but there is always that spark when they meet.  

Gradually we are led to understand how each of them is damaged. Can their relationship survive this? Can it, indeed, save them? For salvation is what they need; the stakes couldn’t be higher. If they get this wrong, they can never fulfil their potential; they will shrivel and die as individuals.

I found the novel gripping. Having read it once, I admired it so much that I read it again intending to learn from it. Lo and behold, I was about three pages in and the story took control again, and I just read it for pleasure. It really is that good!

What Pegman Saw – The end of an adventure

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is the Palisade Rim/Ute Petroglyph trail in Colorado.

WPS - The end of an adventure 180217

The end of an adventure

Alan blew smoke towards the end of the bed.

“Why do you always do that?” Ruth snuggled more closely against his midriff. “I like to smell you, not cigarettes.”

Alan shrugged.

“Dunno. Habit?” He scratched. “Anyway, it’s time we moved. We’re visiting the Ute petroglyphs today.”

He rolled out of bed and pulled on his pants.

It was hot as Ruth parked at the trailhead.

“Give me the water, will you?” She popped a couple of Tylenol. “Bloody period’s started.”

“It won’t kill you. Let’s hit the trail!”

The views from the trail were spectacular. Alan grinned. “Glad you came now?”

Ruth stumbled.

“Ow-ow-ow! Turned my ankle!”

“Do you want to wait here, while I finish the hike?”

Ruth nodded.

An hour later she called his phone.

“The petroglyphs are fantastic! I’ll be a bit longer…”

Ruth cut across him.

“I’m going back to the car. Hurry – or you’re hitching!”